Autobiographical memory specificity in response to verbal and pictorial cues in clinical depression
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Background Depressed individuals have been consistently shown to exhibit problems in accessing specific memories of events from their past and instead tend to retrieve categorical summaries of events. The majority of studies examining autobiographical memory changes associated with psychopathology have tended to use word cues, but only one study to date has used images (with PTSD patients). Objective to determine if using images to cue autobiographical memories would reduce the memory specificity deficit exhibited by patients with depression in comparison to healthy controls. Methods Twenty-five clinically depressed patients and twenty-five healthy controls were assessed on two versions of the autobiographical memory test; cued with emotional words and images. Results Depressed patients retrieved significantly fewer specific memories, and a greater number of categorical, than did the controls. Controls retrieved a greater proportion of specific memories to images compared to words, whereas depressed patients retrieved a similar proportion of specific memories to both images and words. Limitations no information about the presence and severity of past trauma was collected. Conclusions results suggest that the overgeneral memory style in depression generalises from verbal to pictorial cues. This is important because retrieval to images may provide a more ecologically valid test of everyday memory experiences than word-cued retrieval.
Ridout , N , Dritschel , B , Matthews , K & O'Carroll , R 2016 , ' Autobiographical memory specificity in response to verbal and pictorial cues in clinical depression ' Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry , vol. 51 , pp. 109-115 . DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2016.01.002
Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2016.01.002
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